The fog was thick this morning as seen in the top picture of the gazebo this morning. Big John and I turned on the entire Holiday Lights Show (HLS) though as we have another test this evening and wanted to make sure everything was running well. When the entire show will stay on for the day, we're in pretty good shape. We had very few problems and with the premiere lighting next Friday evening (November 30th) at our Taste of Chocolate event (selling out fast), we'll have time for some final adjustments as needed. The image above is one of our three "pyramids" along the front entrance garden slope that is having an "extended contribution" for the HLS. These three structures punctuated the entrance garden slope plantings this summer that were primarily white, silver and powder blue. Below is one of the many 1/2 gallon milk jugs that Marianne set around the gardens. These look awesome at night and are a safe and effective way to delineate paths for our HLS visitors. The next photo down shows some of our electrical handiwork out in the gardens. Oddly enough, this contraption with eight outlets is what has solved most of our power problems out in the gardens. Thanks for Tom C. for lending us this and rigging it up for us earlier this week.
It was a light day for volunteers. Del came in and worked on creating more of his deer cutouts for the gift shop. Dick H. popped in and ran out for some supplies for Del. Dick was later drafted in to helping Del with some of his deer prep work. Chuck S. came in to process our recycling. We also saw Kris K. and Maury popped in as well. We didn't have any gardening occuring today which seemed odd because of the warm weather. We'll keep poking away at garden clean-up though over the coming weeks as time (and Mother Nature) allows! Directly below is the colorful (and evergreen) foliage of the Blondy wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei 'Interbowli') which catches the eye this time of year. Frequently used as a groundcover or trailing plant, this variety has a nice bright, consistent variegation. The next photo down shows a really sweet winter arrangement that I saw at K&W Greenery (www.kwgreenery.com/) here in Janesville yesterday. Your empty containers (or spaces) near the front door could have something like this! Just perfect for the holidays. Olbrich Botanical Gardens (Madison) does a great job with winter containers as well. The third photo down shows the male catkins (flowers) of the contorted filbert (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') which is also called Harry Lauder's walking stick.
Our skeleton grounds crew just included just Big John and myself. John worked on putting up the last of our twinkle lights as some were very recently donated. John also helped adjust some luminaries and did a great job troubleshooting some of the smaller problems out in the HLS. Aside from helping John turn everything on, I was only in the gardens briefly dealing with some cord issues. I spent most of the day organizing all my new catalogs and getting poised and ready for 2013 seed ordering. I'll delve in to this fun (literally) project next week. Directly below is the fine-textured foliage (yellow fall color) of the fernleaf buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula 'Asplenifolia'). This lacy, large, upright shrub does have some nice texture and is not at all like the invasive European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica). The next photo down shows the wood rush (Luzula sylvatica) in the Scottish garden. This grass-relative stays green throughout most of the winter and there are some neat varieties with either variegated or golden foliage. The third photo down shows the foliage of the variegated sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa 'Fruhlingsgold') that is getting a nice pink tinge on the foliage that previously had a conspicuous creamy variegation. At the bottom is a photo of pincushion moss from Dale S., our moss expert and consultant. You can see how it gets its name! We don't have this species...yet. I'm off the next four days so blogging may not resume until Monday. I'll soon be giving details on our spring trip to England (May 20-30). This English Gardens Tour includes the 100th Anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show, Sissinghurst, Wisley, Hampton Court, Canterbury, Great Dixter, Leeds Castle and much more!